Pink Eye in Kittens & Cats

by Quentin Coleman, Demand Media
    Take a minute to look your kitty in the eyes every day.

    Take a minute to look your kitty in the eyes every day.

    If you ever been diagnosed with pink eye, then you understand your kitty's discomfort if she has feline version of the disease. Conjunctivitis has several causes that many cats are exposed to during throughout their daily life. While pink eye is annoying and persistent, it rarely causes serious symptoms.

    Causes

    Pink eye is actually caused by several different problems, which may occur simultaneously or separately. Many cases of conjunctivitis are the result of the feline herpes virus, which is extremely common in cats. In fact, most cats are exposed to the virus during their life and gain an immunity to it as they age, according to the NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Feline herpes is not contagious to humans at all, so you don't need to worry about the disease spreading to you or your family. There are a few other viral agents that can cause conjunctivitis, including feline chlamydia and mycoplasma, so it is important to get your kitty to the vet to verify the cause.

    Signs

    One of the primary symptoms of conjunctivitis is pink or red discoloration on and around your cat's eyes. It looks like your cat simply stayed up too late and hasn't had his coffee yet, but his reddened eyes are actually the result of inflammation. Since the disease swells the tissue that connects your cat's eyelids and eyeball, the inflammation may also make him squint or wink frequently. Excessive or discolored discharge is another common sign of pink eye. The clear tissue above your cat's pupil may also become more opaque than usual or develop a discolored film on its surface.

    Diagnosis

    Even if you are pretty sure that you know what the problem is, it's a good idea to get a second opinion from your vet. Eye problems in cats are less common than in dogs, but are more likely to last for a long time, according to Animal Eye Care. Most causes of conjunctivitis are really easy to remedy with the proper medicine, and your cat will thank you for restoring his vision. When a vet takes a look at your cat, he may simply examine his medical history and make a diagnosis from that, or he may ask for a few laboratory tests to clarify the situation.

    Treatment and Prevention

    Administer your kitty's medicine as prescribed by your vet. Antibiotics and antivirals are used to treat pathogen-induced pink eye. Ask your vet if there are any eye-lubricant solutions that would be appropriate for your pet to ease his discomfort. You can reduce the chances of your other cats catching the disease by keeping them separated from the infected individual and restricting their access to the outdoors. The feline herpes virus is very contagious among cats, so keeping your pet away from strange cats will go a long way to protecting him from infection. Young cats and kittens are more susceptible to infection than adults, because they have not had time to build up their immune system.

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

    Photo Credits

    • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images